A UK gay marriage law approved earlier this year will take effect on Saturday, March 29 in England and Wales, the British government announced Tuesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg applauded the news in a tweet to his more than 142,000 followers: “Great news that same sex weddings will happen from 29th March 2014.”

Equalities Minister Maria Miller said that after the law's start marriage “will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.”

“This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married,” she added.

Gay and lesbian couples in civil partnerships, available since 2005, will be able to convert their unions to marriage by the end of next year, Miller said.

(Related: Gay marriage bill clears major hurdle in Scotland.)